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lorennerol
Premium
join:2003-10-29
Seattle, WA

5 recommendations

reply to arghJPOJ

Re: Best Buy acquires Speakeasy??!?

Signs of an incompetent executive team and CEO:

1. Old time staff starts departing like rats off a sinking ship.
2. Proudly announce $24MM in new venture capital to fund WiMax buildout catering to gamers and businesses.
3. Move office to new, opulent location.
4. More staff departs.
5. Failed VoIP launch when key partner bails at last moment.
6. WiMax failing. CEO states that it's returned to R&D from beta status.
7. More staff departs.
8. Entire VoIP system goes down when partner software upgrade fails.
9. New webmail interface buckles under load on first day.
10. Can't keep key positions filled.
11. Run out of previously trumpeted capital.
12. Sell hinky WiMax buildout to competitor while still calling it 'the way of the future'.
13. More staff quits.
14. Ask partners to enter their own orders so you can cut down on staff (and not replace those who quit). Spin partners by telling them how great it is that they are now order entry clerks.
15. No staff, no cash, degrading product. Only one card left to play: Sell goodwill value of Speakeasy name to company that needs a better reputation: Best Buy.
16. CEO sends bulk email to clients and partners insulting their intelligence by saying that Best Buy is 'known for their high level of customer service', like the clients and partners are idiots and don't know better. Also tell them nothing will change and that Speakeasy will be independent.

Oh, and having been through this before, I know the next two:

17. Within a year assertions made in #16 are shown to be false by actual circumstances. Three of the 20,000 people who got the email are surprised.
18. CEO and exec team take generous severance packages from mother ship and go their merry way. Corporate Borgs step in and finish the assimilation.


Michieru2
zzz zzz zzz
Premium
join:2005-01-28
Miami, FL
reply to lorennerol
Ladies and gentlemen.

If their is any time to bust out the beer and cry, it shall be right now.
--
The only limits we have are the one's we set ourselves.

david3

join:2000-03-21
reply to lorennerol
I received the Speakeasy email, even though it's been almost 3 years since I canceled my Speakeasy service... I wonder if there's a problem with their customer database?


bryank

join:2000-03-23
Plainfield, IL
reply to lorennerol
Here is one thing to think about, I believe it to be true, but not 100% certain. I am not pro-Best Buy nor pro-Speakeasy, heck I shop at Fry's and have Comcast, but I wanted to chime in on something that could be relevant.

Just because a larger company buys another company doesn't necessarily mean the corporate or business structure is going to change. Best Buy owns numerous other companies that you would not even suspect such as MusicLand, Future Shop, & Pacific Sales Kitchen and Bath Centers. Think of it as making trades in baseball or football. You give something up, to hopefully get something better; in the business world it's capital (or money).

Best Buy will use the Speakeasy company purchase as a product for their retail stores in the computer department to bundle packages together with their purchases. For instance, you buy a new computer, sign up with speakeasy for a year, and you save $300 off purchase. It's a marketing tool, anybody in the business world understands this.

I guess the only downside to this for the Speakeasy current customers is overselling of their service. With more and more user accounts being activated (given Best Buy does what I used as an example above), the more and more support requests that come in.

jofallon
Premium
join:2002-01-05
Oak Park, IL
reply to lorennerol
I wonder where you could find a small business that would go to Best Buy for anything relating to service or support. Perhaps a lemonade stand, but where could you find a grown-up who's never been to Best Buy?


panda
Visualize Whirled Peas

join:2000-01-08
Largo, FL
reply to nshulga
said by nshulga:

Pity. I have good memories of Speakeasy. They were a good company.
I have to disagree...

They are (were) a GREAT company!

They will be missed.

IMHO, BB will absolutely *ruin* SE...
--
"[He] couldn't get a clue if he stripped naked, rubbed himself with clue musk, went to the middle of the clue breeding grounds at the height of clue breeding season when it was full of horny clues and did the clue mating dance for days."


nixen
Rockin' the Boxen
Premium
join:2002-10-04
Alexandria, VA
reply to bryank
said by bryank:

Here is one thing to think about, I believe it to be true, but not 100% certain. I am not pro-Best Buy nor pro-Speakeasy, heck I shop at Fry's and have Comcast, but I wanted to chime in on something that could be relevant.
Read before you "chime in". The stated goals of the purchase - as stated by both SpeakEasy and Best Buy - has nothing to do with consumer HSI.
--
Everyday, thousands of new cars are delivered to their new owners with poorly-selected radio station presets.


inteller
Sociopaths always win.

join:2003-12-08
Tulsa, OK
and small businesses will have nothing to do with Best Buy so it sounds like a real winning combination!


nixen
Rockin' the Boxen
Premium
join:2002-10-04
Alexandria, VA
said by inteller:

and small businesses will have nothing to do with Best Buy so it sounds like a real winning combination!
Yup. And when it proves to not be a winning combination? Well, you can count on Best Buy either changing things at SpeakEasy, carving it up and selling it piecemeal or disolving it altogether.
--
Everyday, thousands of new cars are delivered to their new owners with poorly-selected radio station presets.

russotto

join:2000-10-05
West Orange, NJ
Yep. Within the year, what's left of Speakeasy's skeleton will be sold to AT&T or Verizon for considerably less than Best Buy paid.

They may sell out... err, I mean off... residential customers before that.

jofallon
Premium
join:2002-01-05
Oak Park, IL
If the article at »www.fool.com/investing/g ··· asy.aspx is correct, BestBuy only wanted the VOIP part of Speakeasy. They may well sell off residential DSL customers if this is the case.

The lack of attention to this forum by SE is in line with this notion.


jaykaykay
4 Ever Young
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-13
USA
kudos:24
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
·Speakeasy

1 edit
reply to lorennerol
I always try to keep my thoughts with a half glass full of water instead of the half empty one. I will continue to do so now. I can always go with cable and have been able to up to now. I may have to. I hope not. I am happy for Speakeasy but not for myself. If they try to sell off my line connection, good bye Speakeasy and you owe me big time.


bhan261

join:2001-02-12
New York, NY
reply to jofallon
I wouldn't be surprised if this turns into another Directv DSL situation where subscribers were given only about a months notice that they were shutting down the service. I was one of them and I migrated to Speakeasy. There were signs back then that all was not right with Directv as there are now with Speakeasy. Rather than wait to be pushed out the door this time, I think I'll leave before the rush. I've been looking for a good reason to switch to bway.net...this is probably it.

pdaudio84

join:2003-07-07
Greensboro, NC
reply to russotto
Rah, all you people in fios areas, or even prospective fios areas!

I've been a Speakeasy customer for just over two years, and I love my static IPs and reverse DNS.
My other real options in this area are Bellsouth or TWC. I don't want or need a phone line (yeah for onelink), so that's bellsouth out. RR's upload is maxed out at 512 kbps on their highest tear, and obviously it's a completely different class of service. They keep saying they'll up the tears to 8/512 for standard and 10/1 for terbo (or whatever they're calling it), but honestly, I think they're waiting for Bellsouth to make a move, something which, in my opinion, is unlikely for a while.

I actually have both Speakeasy and RR's standard package, because I could only get 1.5 down reliably with Speakeasy, due to my distance from the CO, but the upload was twice as fast as RR standard. Plus, I can run both my and parent's voip phones on the cable line and use all my DSL upstream without conflict.
Considering I have two ISPs, I obviously don't mind paying premium, but this has gone and turned the whole concept for a loop, as far as I'm concerned.

I think, eventually, if RR decides to up the speeds, I will drop Speakeasy and move my servers to a co-lo. I have access to some unmetered bandwidth on an alphared datacenter...


Bright Side

@comcast.net
reply to lorennerol
Ok, so let's look at the bright side of things. Yes, everyone can argue on forums, so I am not hear to argue, I have had bad experiences with a ton of companies. Let me Start, Target, where my wife still shops, Walmart, where my wife still shops, Home Depot, where I still shop, Microsoft, where I still run xp, Apple, where my Ipod went dead, get my point? Best Buy knows nothing of Broadband. The fact that the CEO, the CFO and the CTO, have all agreed to stay on at Speakeasy is enough for me to stay. I run servers, even the mighty FIOS, their TOS will not allow me to run servers last time I talked to them. Speakeasy, is not going to outsource their support. That has been guaranteed. No Employees are getting laid off, which means all the awesome techs will still be there. Best Buy when they aquired who was it " Musicland" I don't think I got that name right, but anyways, they failed at that. They will leave Speakeasy alone I think. Speakeasy is not changing its name either. Oh I can run cable to and get 6 megs down at 3:00AM, but no other time of the day. Speakeasy also setup reverse DNS for me for free. Try calling an SBC, Verizon, or a Covad tech in India to do that for you. I am staying with Speakeasy.

russotto

join:2000-10-05
West Orange, NJ
From experience, I can tell you promises like those are always made at merger time... and pretty much always broken.

The first noticable change is usually a "harmonization" of administrative policies -- for instance, purchasing, expense reports, and most significantly, HR. The corporate officers may stay for a little while and then leave, or a reorganization may leave them nominally in place but no longer in charge. The people really in charge then start merging business units which are duplicated between the parent and the subsidiary, like customer service. By this time, the better employees have seen the writing on the wall and have bailed anyway. Once this decimation has been done, the offices of the subsidiary will likely be closed and the subsidiary "co-located" with the parent.

Somewhere along the line you can expect to see customer-visible changes, likely touted as implementation of "standard industry practices" -- this is where static IPs go away, port blocking appears, and servers are forbidden. In this case, the likely alternative is that Best Buy for Business will drop or sell off the residential side entirely.

By the time this is all complete, the subsidiary retains little except its name. Assuming the people running it have no clue, it will hemmorhage money and customers, and the parent will put it back on the market, ending up selling it to a competitor for less than they paid for it.

(gloom and doom? Yeah. But I'm the personification of gloom and doom.)

jofallon
Premium
join:2002-01-05
Oak Park, IL
A very likely bet would be that BB sees a good number of people in customer support, some making more than the average Geek squad salary, and then makes economies. Very likely a lot of the SE support people are figuring that too; and will relocate when they can. Doubtless Bruce C will be safe for a year or so, and then will get a nice parachute after a quiet departure. But he isn't providing our service; the good level 2 techs are probably looking at other options right now. They'll probably all get replaced by Geek squad people within a year or two.


HiAmp

@att.net
reply to lorennerol
I've been an outspoken loyal Speakeasy customer for over 7 years and have gladly been paying twice as much for speeds 4 times slower than cable to my home.

Speakeasy has been a great company, in my opinion. I've watched them grow and expand technologies and services, and all the while they've given me top-notch technical support, when needed, by actual Americans who are skilled network technicians and not just some barely-understandable grunt reading me a FAQ page that I could've Googled in the first place.

Additionally, keeping their employees in America has in-turn helped feed our dwindling economy. Every little bit helps and I'm proud to do my part.

That said, I work for a mega conglomerate with hundreds of aquisitions under its belt. Bruce C's BB acquisition announcement email looks like it was taken from the same template my company uses to anounce a new "exciting" acquisition to the newly acquired employees. Don't believe for a second that things will remain "business as usual" and that the company "culture" will stay the same, even if all BB wants is their interest in SE's VoIP. SE's exec's all know what's going to happen and I would guess their other employees are suspicious of it too. I've seen it many times and been personally involved in several of our aquisitions. Over the next 3 years the conglomerate will transform ("streamline") the business part of things and "overhead".

I, personally, don't believe that SE jobs will even go to Geek Squad folks. That downgrade in salary overhead will not even be enough to make stock-holders cheer. These tech jobs are most likely bound for India baby. Sad, but a cold truth where business cares more about share-values than they do about the customers who put them on the map in the first place, and the employees that feed the economy enough to fuel the market they exist in.

I will not wait until transitioning away from SE is a painful experience due to dialect, administrative authority, and skill barriers. I'm starting the painful transfer process now. I have a lot of services through Speakeasy which will take months to migrate elsewhere.

It's sad, really.

For what it's worth, I wish every one at Speakeasy today the very best and sincerely hope the future for this great group of techies is not as rough as I suspect.

-HiAmp


drmorley
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-20
Park Ridge, IL
reply to jofallon
Click for full size
downloadspeakeasy.pdf 65,593 bytes
said by jofallon:

If the article at »www.fool.com/investing/g ··· asy.aspx is correct, BestBuy only wanted the VOIP part of Speakeasy. They may well sell off residential DSL customers if this is the case.

The lack of attention to this forum by SE is in line with this notion.
I just got this email--now they're looking to push telemarketing so they can sell more VOIP lines? For shame!

At one time I had four accounts with Speakeasy and I'm down to only one and that last one is getting switched over to a competitor in a couple weeks.

It's been real...
--
»tehblogs.com

jofallon
Premium
join:2002-01-05
Oak Park, IL
I'm starting the process of migrating myself. I'm not in a mood for waiting for the quality of service to drop off, or to find my line has been sold to someone else. It's just too much money.

lorennerol
Premium
join:2003-10-29
Seattle, WA
reply to drmorley
said by drmorley:

I just got this email--now they're looking to push telemarketing so they can sell more VOIP lines? For shame!

At one time I had four accounts with Speakeasy and I'm down to only one and that last one is getting switched over to a competitor in a couple weeks.

It's been real...
Wait! In the immediate* future future nothing will change.

*Within an hour of the time Bruce C. sent the email announcing the buyout.

I was just reading the same newsletter and I agree: Pushing telemarketing is shameless and something the old Speakeasy would never have done.


claudeo

join:2000-02-23
Redmond, WA
reply to lorennerol
A reporter in the Seattle PI a few weeks ago threw a challenge to his readers: Can you name a single business merger or acquisition that has benefited the customers? Er... BB acquiring SE? Please, I'm trying not to gag.


See Ya

@comcast.net
reply to lorennerol
I know let's all leave Speakeasy so we can call India. You guys are jumping the gun. SBC India, Earthlink India, Covad Support India. I refuse to call India and speak with Joe. Everytime I call over there I speak with Joe.

Calling India is way worse. I am leaving my DSL line to host my servers with Speakeasy.

You all can jump ship, it least when I call speakeasy, You guys won't be in front of me on the hold que, you will all be waiting to talk to Joe in India. LOL


jesterekim6

join:2000-05-25
Flushing, NY
reply to lorennerol
Only time will tell...


HiAmp

@att.net
reply to See Ya
"jump the gun"? No sir...

Have you ever dealt with India to do a migration of a domain name or web host or VoIP contract? It's painful even if the person you're talking to has been around for a while... much less, if they've just been contracted by a dissolving BB acquisition, or worse: an account recently sold to another provider who contracted their support to India (--- pay attention to that one).

People jumping ship are just saving THEMSELVES some headache, and I don't blame them.

Also consider the fact that many alternative ISPs' would already employ offshore support. It's the whole *migration* part of it that needs to be done with someone who has skills and concern for you. That's the best reason to take advantage of the true professionals at SE now, before they're gone.

This BB/SE merger is a true shame, IMHO. The biggest reason SE had so many hard-core followers is because of their reputation. Geeks all around knew their quality and were happily willing to pay the extra premium for it. These customers weren't your average Mabel and Marvin down the street. Those old farts went with high-latency cable or $15 SBC, and wouldn't know the difference if BB or Aquafina were providing their "internets" (-- bushism... lower-case "b" intentional).

Without standing apart from the crowd, SE cannot compete. Anyone who thinks papa bear Best Buy wants to foot the bill for SE's unique way of networking and supporting their customer is an idiot.

TheDew

join:2007-03-31
Marietta, GA

1 edit
Wow - lots of bad Best Buy experiences I guess. I'm actually a huge Best Buy fan - I get rewards money every week it seems.

On the other hand, I had a horrible experience with Speakeasy, so I'm sorry to see Best Buy get involved with such a lousy company. For anyone interested my Speakeasy experience you can check my other post for that lengthy story -

FixManTx
Premium
join:2005-02-06
Minneapolis, MN
reply to lorennerol
Wow! I've heard of rats deserting a sinking ship but sheesh...reading this thread is like watching 'em leave at the first sign of bad weather lol....

I have nothing against BB, but I'm not what you could call a "fan" either. I've bought stuff there before but I wouldn't say I've had a particularly good or bad experience there. To me they aren't any worse or better than any other competitor. I'll wait to see what happens before jumping ship myself.

The only "hitch" I've had with my Speakeasy service was when I moved last year and it turned out to be a problem in Covad's equipment cage at the CO. I've had my service since Feb '04 and have nothing to complain about. I don't see any reason to switch just because of a merger. I'd be hard pressed to find another ISP in Houston that offers what Speakeasy does for the price.

Whenever I had an issue and called SpE's tech support they did a good job helping me, and every SpE tech I've ever talked to was much more knowlegeable than any RoadRunner tech I talked to when I had them.

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm sticking with SpE.